2016 Ford Explorer vs Toyota Highlander

March 31st, 2017 by

Ford Explorer vs Toyota Highlander

The 2016 Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander are both large crossover SUVs that are designed to deliver maximum passenger space, family-friendly convenience features, and a smooth, powerful ride. Before you make a final decision, check out our side-by-side comparison.

2016 Explorer vs Toyota Highlander

Power and Performance

When it comes to on-road performance, the 2016 Ford Explorer has the edge. Its three engine options provide a swift, smooth ride. For optimal pulling power, check out the turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 engine. Its 365 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque help the Explorer tow max loads of 5,000 pounds. Choose four-wheel drive for enhanced off-road traction.

Toyota Highlander shoppers can choose between four-cylinder and V6 engine options. Use the 3.5-liter V6 engine to produce 270 horses and 248 pound-feet of torque. As with the Explorer, the V6-powered Highlander can tow max loads of 5,000 pounds. The Highlander can be had with all-wheel drive, which improves performance over wet roads.


Both crossovers are big on safety, but the Toyota Highlander caught our eye. In government crash tests, it earned a perfect five-star rating for overall safety. The rearview camera enhances visibility as you navigate cramped parking lots. The Safety Connect telematics system provides enhanced protection, thanks to features like automatic collision notification and stolen vehicle tracking.

Of course, the Explorer proved difficult to beat. As with the Highlander, it earned a perfect overall rating in government crash tests. Combined with the rearview camera, the 180-degree front camera makes parallel parking a snap. Advanced technology – such as blind-spot warning – monitors your surroundings and increases awareness.

Interior Comfort and Space

Once again, the 2016 Ford Explorer is our favorite. Inside, passengers enjoy optimal head- and legroom. Its three rows of passenger space make it the perfect pick for large families and socialites. Flip down the rear two rows to create 81.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.

The Highlander also provides three rows of seating and prime passenger space. The cabin is stocked with handy storage areas, where you can organize carryon items or your favorite gadgets. With both rear seats flipped down, the Highlander offers 83.7 cubes of cargo space.

Modern Tech and Convenience Features

The 2016 Ford Explorer’s many infotainment features contribute to its mass appeal. The MyFord Touch interface is intuitive and easy to use. Smartphone app integration means you can keep in touch with friends without looking away from traffic. Use Bluetooth to stream your favorite music from devices.

The Toyota Highlander offers a list of its own infotainment options. The Entune App Suite helps you get through the day with navigation and smartphone app integration features. The driver voice amplification feature helps you communicate with rear passengers.

Learn More about the Ford Explorer

Ford Explorer vs Toyota Highlander

Both the 2016 Ford Explorer and the Toyota Highlander crossovers have much to offer both driver and passenger, but we prefer the Explorer overall. Its powerful engine options provide ample towing capabilities and a smooth, fuel-efficient performance. Inside, the Explorer is roomy and comfortable, with three spacious rows of seating. Modern tech features provide excellent passenger protection and infotainment options. Take the Explorer for a test drive today!